LOS ANGELES– Brad Johnson, who went from being a rodeo cowboy to portraying the Marlboro man in cigarette spots and film and TV roles including Steven Spielberg’s “Always” and “Melrose Place,” is deceased. He was 62 years old.
Johnson died Feb. 18 in Fort Worth, Texas, of complications from COVID-19, his agent, Linda McAlister, said Saturday.
Johnson starred opposite Holly Hunter in 1989’s “Always,” a remake of a 1943 film (“A Guy Named Joe”) about firefighter pilots. He again played a pilot in the 2000 religious doomsday thriller “Left Behind,” starring Kirk Cameron, and was in both of its sequels.
He worked regularly on television, notably in the recurring role of Dr. Dominick O’Malley on “Melrose Place”; “Rough Riders”, “Soldier of Fortune, Inc.” and “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation”.
Johnson was born in October 1959 to parents Grove, a horse trainer, and Virginia, in Tucson, Arizona. After riding in rodeos as a youth, he began his professional rodeo career in 1984 and was discovered by a movie scout, according to a family biography.
His work as an actor and as the Marlboro Man – one of the successors used by the brand – brought Johnson and his wife, Laurie, to California. They eventually moved their family to a ranch in New Mexico and the mountains of Colorado before settling in North Texas. He sold ranch real estate there.
“As much as he loved the cowboy and the outdoors, Brad loved nothing more than his family. He put them before him in every way and they know they couldn’t have been blessed with a best husband and father,” his family said in a statement.
“Although he was taken too soon, he lived his life to the fullest,” they said.
Johnson’s survivors include his wife of 35 years, Laurie, as well as their children Shane, Bellamy, Rachel, Eliana, Eden, Rebekah, Annabeth and William, and Johnson’s stepmother, Teresa Johnson.